Steve Novick: If I ran against Gordon Smith, here's how I'd do it.

Steve Novick, a political activist and regular contributor here at BlueOregon, is considering running against Senator Gordon Smith.

This week's Willamette Week cover story, written by Novick, includes an extensive blueprint for how he might do it.

Imagine if one of Oregon's two U.S. senators had repeatedly voted against raising the minimum wage, or voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for reasonable prices for prescription drugs.

Imagine if strongly progressive Oregon had sent somebody to the world's greatest deliberativebody who voted against investigating Halliburton, and who voted to raid the Social Security trust fund in order to pay for tax cuts for America's richest people.

Imagine if Oregon had a senator who believed that people who work for a living should pay taxes at a higher rate than people who make their money buying and selling stock.

Imagine if that senator was one of the prime sponsors of a massive tax cut for multinational corporations—especially drug companies—that stash their profits in overseas tax havens. A tax cut that George W. Bush's own treasury secretary denounced as favoring multinationals over domestic firms.

Imagine the senator not only voted for the Iraq war, and supported it for four years, but as late as June 2006 gave an impassioned speech defending the war as a noble fight for "freedom." Imagine that in December 2006 he said he was open to supporting sending more troops to Iraq.

Imagine that the same senator openly called for then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to override Oregon's voter-approved Death with Dignity law, opposed a woman's right to choose an abortion and was an unabashed supporter of the Patriot Act.

Imagine the senator was one of Congress' top recipients of trips on corporate jets, accepting rides worth over $69,000 since 2001.

Imagine the same senator voted to allow coal-fired power plants to increase their toxic emissions. Imagine that his position on global warming was so absurd that the Daily Astorian said he had joined the Flat Earth Society. Imagine that he had voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Imagine he had voted to give $11.5 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas industries.

Imagine that the senator thought he could pass himself off as a "moderate" by continuously engaging

in transparently political contortions—like taking six different positions on the war in Iraq in six weeks.

If Oregon had such a senator, wouldn't all the pollsters agree that he was a ripe target for defeat by a Democrat in 2008?

Oregon does have such a senator. His name is Gordon Smith.

Smith is going to lose in 2008. Not everyone knows that yet. Few people have paid enough attention to his record to understand how vulnerable he is. But the Republican senator from Pendleton is just that.


Vulnerable despite having more than $2 million ready for his re-election bid.

And vulnerable despite a well-cultivated rep as a moderate, burnished by a national and state press that lauds him and Oregon's other U.S. senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, for bipartisanship (despite the fact that in reality, Wyden and Smith are on opposite sides of most major issues).

Some of those in the know are starting to think about running against him.

I happen to be one of those people.

If I did run against Gordon Smith, here's how I'd beat him.

And that's just the intro. Read the rest here.

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    FYI, a minute or two, the link worked. But now it doesn't. And it looks like WW's entire site is down.

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    OK, the link is working again.

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    Great article. I'm stoked to see someone taking it to Smith's phony moderate credentials.

  • Don Beal (unverified)

    Go for it Steve and let me know where to sign up to help.

  • Ben Hubbird (unverified)

    Please do it, Steve.

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    I would love to see the debate. Let's talk.


  • Anon (unverified)

    And I will support you every step of the way, with as much time and $$ as I can give.

    Excellent read. Well done.

  • Kelly Steele (unverified)

    The Hill, the Capitol Hill newspaper that broke the scandal about Sen. Smith's lobbyist-paid vacation to a swanky castle in Ireland, also had a story this morning about Novick's potential entry into the race. A snippet:

    “When George Bush was taking the country to hell, Gordon Smith had his hand on the handbasket every step of the way,” Novick said. “He needs to be held accountable and beaten.

    “Democrats should be champing at the bit to be running against this guy.”

    The O's political blog also had a blurb yesterday, though it is notable more for its annoying choice of language than for any news content:
    Steve Novick, a Democrat activist from Portland, says he may run for the U.S. Senate next year, a seemingly Herculean task assuming the incumbent, Republican Gordon Smith, decides to shoot for a third term.

    Novick, who appears regularly as a commentator in the news media and local political blogs, has never held elective office. He wouldn't elaborate on his plans.

    Not sure what I'm talking about? See here: LINK

  • Al Berta (unverified)

    Oregon could do no greater service -- and nothing to raise the collective IQ of that body -- than sending Steve to the US Senate. Go for it Novick!

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    I'll start up Students for Steve.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I admire Steve's ambition, boldness, talent, experience, passionetc... and would happily support him. Obviously, though, he has no name I.D. What about Les AuCoin? He obviosuly wants to be in the U.S. Senate, has name ID and experience, and unlike DeFazio and the others, doesn't have a committee chair position in the housee to hold on to.

  • Anon (unverified)

    Expect Smith to hire Chuck Adams and crank up the slime machine to full tilt - the mailers accusing you of child pornography, etc. sent by "a concerned mom". Yeah right.

    An important part of this campaign would be devising ways to make them rue the day they even thought of hiring Adams. Drag all that Adams dirty laundry into the light of day and pile it right on Smith.

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    Grant -- A good thought, which I had a couple of months ago. I asked Les if he would run. I would have been very excited if he had said yes. He said no.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    I do not know Steve. I am excited by any Dem candidate who is motivated and creative. I think I noticed in his bio that Steve worked for former Multnomah County Commissioner Linn? Is Steve sufficiently insulated from the Diane Linn - Multnomah County gay marriage fiasco that he won't be vulnerable on that? That issue alone might be a mighty big anvil around the neck of an otherwise qualified state-wide candidate. Otherwise, and while I REALLY wish that "Earl the Pearl" would run, Steve is the best option I have seen so far.

  • Brandon Rhodes (unverified)


    I've heard you speak at some Bus Project events, and I say: run for it, dude. Clobber Gordy.

    Cheers, BDR

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    I am very touched by all the nice comments, especially from folks I don't think I know! (Although the comments from people I do know, like Andrew, are great, too.) Please, everybody, also email me directly at [email protected] so we can keep in touch.

  • Libby (unverified)

    First, Steve Novick kicks ass. And not just for pointing out how the democratic conventional wisdom -- that beating Gordon's a long-shot -- is just plain wrong.

    Novick laid out the case against Smith on the issues, but the numbers and universe of voters for 2008 also point to an extremely competitive race. To state the obvious, 2008 is not 2002. Oregon will see not only a high turnout typical of a Presidential year, but a disproportional increase in lazy Multnomah county turnout.

    The way Gordon wins isn't rocket science: he cuts his losses in Multnomah county (usually losing about 60/40 verses 75/25 for Ted/Saxton, for example) and performs well in the burbs and of course racks up big rural numbers.

    Play to a draw in Washington county and get a super-majority in Multnomah and you win.

    Also, I think the media environment is different for Smith next year. I don't think he will get away with running as Jesse Helms in one side of the state and Jesse Jackson in the other. This can be overstated, but the blogosphere also has a role to play in preventing this from happening.

    Steve's thesis is dead-on, and Oregon progressives owe him a huge debt for his work on this for the past few months. Go Steve!

  • LT (unverified)

    A couple of ideas:

    1. Grant, go back and study the 2005 AuCoin nomination. It was obvious that an appointment to the Forestry Board where no one supporting the nomination could complete the sentence "AuCoin is better for the Forestry Board than Heffernan because....." showed they thought they didn't have to work for the nomination (How many St. Sen. did AuCoin personally ask for their vote rather than demanding it?).

    What does Les think he learned from that experience? The coalition opposing that nomination stretched from Republicans who admired Heffernan to a member of the Green Party who posted on Counterpunch.

    Could such a polarizing figure really win statewide?

    AuCoin did not win friends and influence people in that 1992 Sen. primary--on the contrary, there were those who had admired Les as late as 1990-1991 who were turned off by the attitude of the campaign. (How dare anyone ask Les tough questions like asking him to explain why he gave a speech on one side of an issue and then someone found out he'd voted the other way!)

    I think it is time for someone to run who has not alienated that many people. Would love to see one of our members of Congress or for that matter a legislator--Gordon went to Senate from Legislature, as did Earl and Darlene by way of local government.

    Which leads me to 2. The DSCC. Time to remember how Gordon Smith won in the first place. There were 3 well known primary candidates (I wished I could have supported 2 if not all 3 due to long admiration of them). The DSCC chosen candidate outspent one candidate 10-1 in the primary, another 100-1, and I'm not sure about the ratio for the third candidate.

    Then there were Democrats who couldn't understand why the man who ran on the 3 slogans: I fought a war. I founded a company. I'm not Gordon Smith but wouldn't answer questions about specific legislation wasn't earning grass roots support.

    No one is required to support a nominee without question after the primary in a free country. Democrats in 1996 forgot that, and the general election was decided by the number of people who dropped out of what one friend called a contest between "the slick one and the chinless one" and voted 3rd party.

    Chuck Schumer is doing interviews for a new book. He talks about how S. Brown and B. Casey were recruited. He says the DSCC was hearing "so win already".

    OK, now they have a majority. S. Brown may turn out to be a great Senator. And I heard someone at a recent party say "Why would anyone want to campaign for a few months and run into a Paul Hackett situation?". S. Brown could be a great senator, but the way he got the nomination alienated some people.

    Schumer also talked about how happy some groups were that a candidate was recruited so they didn't have to spend money on that race (esp. Penn.) and could spend it elsewhere. This only revives a question which Democrats have debated for decades--are Democrats the party of groups making decisions, or are they a party which allows individuals to think for themselves? This question was being hotly debated a couple decades ago and maybe it is time to have that debate again.

    Seems to me Oregonians should be really clear with the DSCC that if they want our volunteer support (from active campaigning to telling friends why one is voting for the Smith challenger), they'd better make sure Oregonians choose the nominee, not someone in DC alone, in a small group, or talking with a few Oregon elected officials. Schumer said Casey was recruited by calling Rendell in Pennsylvania and saying "who do you think can take out Santorum?". Do we want something like that to happen here?

    My point is this: there are many excellent candidates out there even leaving out anyone who ever needed a recount to win a primary. We need to make sure there is a candidate all can support on their own decision without needing peer pressure, someone who is not only good on issues and campaign organization but able to interact with ordinary citizens and answer their questions.

    You never know what will turn someone's vote. In 1996 there were people who said "at least Gordon has a voting record", and there were people who admired his people skills and how he'd speak to anyone who saw him eating dinner with his family, even if that meant his food got cold. Perhaps not a big factor to folks here, but someone I knew told her friends that was why she was voting for Smith--she'd seen that when she'd taken her kids out for a movie and then dinner and the Smiths were at a nearby table.

    All the above comments are very interesting, but the bottom line is that successful campaigns appeal to people who are not politically active and may be very centrist in their thinking.

  • jall (unverified)

    If you run, Steve, I'll be volunteering hundreds of hours for you.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    I was struck by how much this sounded like Voisin's campaign against Greg Walden. Everything you can hang on Smith, you can hang on Walden, and then some (like being the tie breaking vote for the budget that cut funds for rural health care while trumpeting all over the Second Congressional District about how much he has done for rural health care). Like Novick, Voisin said the right things, had the right message, had the right perspective - would have been a great member of Congress.

    Yet, without much money, Voisin made only a moderate amount of headway. Her $30,000 against Walden's $1.3 million. Smith has more money than Walden, and the potential for a lot more.

    What will attract the big money donors to Novick? He has to have well over $1 million to be considered a serious threat to Smith. With no government experience, I wonder if at that fulcrum point of money, where the rubber meets the road, Novick has any chance at all.

  • torridjoe (unverified)

    The differences between Walden and Smith are that Walden doesn't really pretend he's a moderate, and he represents a heavily "red" district. Smith represents a "blue" state, and professes to be something the facts show he is not.

    Money will always be a factor, but it's easier to raise in Multno for an activist many insiders know, than in Ashland for a professor I'd wager many insider's did NOT know.

    (no knock on Carol; just the facts)

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    The difference between Novick and Voisin?

    Novick is pretty used to being the "smartest man in the room" in a variety of venues.

    I'd bet he has more money connections than 99% of B/O posters.

    If we're going to do this, why not put up an actual Renaissance Man instead of trying to find someone who can play one on TV?

    Put me on your list Steve.

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    TJ is right. I'll put it more bluntly. In a good year, Smith could lose. Even in a good year, Walden couldn't lose.

    Can Steve raise the money? Sure. Could a sitting member of Congress raise the money faster and bigger? Youbetcha.

    But that's not the point. Be sure to check out today's The Hill story on Steve:

    Novick said he would yield should any Democratic members of the state’s House delegation or Smith’s 2002 opponent, Bill Bradbury, decide to run.

    So, Steve is a candidate if - and only if - Earl Blumenauer, David Wu, Darlene Hooley, Peter DeFazio, and Bill Bradbury all decide to take a pass.

  • Betsy Wilson (unverified)

    Steve will get union money. He'll get enviro money. He'll get lawyer money. He'll get democratic establishment money.

    It's hard to think of someone beyond John Kitzhaber or a Congressman who's more connected and admired than Steve (ok, Tim Nesbitt -- but Steve's in the top ten in the state, I think...)

    Hardest working, hardest hitting advocate-pundit I know.

    Run, Steve. As they said in Airplane, "I just want to tell you... good luck. We're all counting on you."

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    (laughter) Love the Airplane line, Betsy. Yeah, when's Nesbitt going to run for something? Kari and The Hill are quoting me correctly. But I should make it clear that although I would absolutely step aside for Bill, Earl, Darlene, David or Peter if they got into this thing SOON, I also think we need a candidate by May. We can't be in the position we were in in 2002, when - no offense intended - John Kitzhaber took too long to decide, and Brabury started later than would have been ideal. I would defer to any of them today, but I am not prepared to defer a decision indefinitely.

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    Grant hit the real problem on the head, and that's name ID. Bev Stein in 2002 & Pete Sorenson last year found out that being the best candidate didn't make up for being known in just one corner of the state. winning the nomination takes care of much of that problem (the hurdle Bev & Pete couldn't get over); but considering how many people vote out of pure ignorance, his is a tough road -- even with Gordo's crappy record.

    that said, what we've learned in the past 4 years from Howard Dean, The Bus Project, and the influence of the netroots/grassroots; the possibilities for overcoming these hurdles are much greater now than ever before. beginning with the "safe" Dem votes, the 'roots activists -- and anyone else who just wants Gordo gone -- can build up the necessary votes to win. (and with the potential for strong Dem coattails in the Presidential race, the possibility grows ever stronger.)

    so Steve would face a tough challenge, but there are plenty of Dems in Congress right now who were given no chance a year ago. i'd love to see him give it a try. at least we'd get the kind of passion, not to mention intelligence, that usually seems to be absent in a major campaign (until the handlers show up....)

    run Steve run!

  • bobtucker (unverified)

    Run Mr. Novick.
    Any B/O who wants to disqualify this fella over name ID should do a quick reality check on just who really does have name ID, as activists and candidates tend to drastically overestimate the name ID of current office holders. Legislators have almost none...and even those who do, it's a mile wide and an inch deep - sure everybody knows Bradbury. He already lost once on this race. Next. Aucoin. Same story, coupled with his dumbass email episode over the board of forestry. Earl the pearl voted for DOMA, so not an option for me - EVER. WU is a date rapist er, I mean formerly sexually troubled and aggressive college student who has deep regrets and had therapy, so nevermind (apparently). Overall, it's amazing to see B/O "netroots" contantly pining for the established electeds as candidates. Why must we turn to second tier 1970s re-treads like Bradbury and Blumenauer?
    John Tester had no name ID, and wasn't even supposed to get out of the primary. Jim Webb had no name ID either - great resume, but no name ID.
    I think Mr. Novick could do it. Not easily, but no harder than for most. Certainly better than Bruggere. He needs the netroots to line up to help, not line up to hope some sitting officeholder re-tread swoops in for a clash of the boring.

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    I'll be the first to admit I was paying very little attention in '96, but could somebody please explain to me - in more than a soundbyte - what exactly was the problem with Tom Bruggere?

    I have no dog in this fight - in fact I know nothing about the guy, besides the fact that all D's these days seem to resent that he was "chosen" by the national committee. But from what I've been able to find, the guy did a kickass job in a race where the odds were stacked against him.

    Oregon had two Republican Senators for a long time, both of them arguably moderate and popular. One of those seats had just flipped to D a few months before - a huge shift in the delegation in the eyes of the average voter.

    Smith, at that time, did not have the record of hypocricy we've recently seen compiled. He had a record of service in the State Senate, and presumably a little statewide name recognition as Sen. President. But wait, he had a TON of statewide name recognition from having run against Wyden just a few months before! He was the first candidate to run for two Senate seats in the same he already had all his campaign apparatus set up, both from an operational standpoint and from a name-recognition standpoint.

    So your famously-independent Oregon voter says "Do we really want to shift BOTH seats all the way over in the space of a few months, or is it better to have a little balance? Do we really want TWO Portland D's representing the state, or would an experienced legislator from Pendleton, who's been selling his candidacy to me for about a YEAR, provide a good balance?

    With all that stacked against him, Bruggere somehow came within a couple nose hairs of beating Smith.

    So, can anybody convince me that the alleged problem with Bruggere is anything more than sour grapes?

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Okay, glad to hear money won't be a problem, I know Pat Ryan is loaded with it, so if he'll help out - Steve you've got it made.

    But seriously, I'll help out too, and so will a lot of us.

    Steve N. - if you are serious about this, you need to get your rear out of the Willamette Valley and see the rest of the State ASAP. If you inspire a desire in the Democrats out east and down south, we can keep the Republican vote at least to a minimum here. Remember, Democratic Senator Wyden wins here. People are not necessarily unhappy here with Smith, but they haven't heard the story, as the local presses get their ink from the Republicans. (e.g., that ink just won't let anything negative be said about Republicans.)

    So, besides a major media blitz about Smith's record (money, money, money) we need to see you in person in each of Oregons 36 Counties several times between now and Nov. 2008.

  • PSJackson (unverified)

    Wow, a real love fest. I agree with most everything that I have read. I respect Steve. He has earned my respect by being smart. His arguments are often airtight. For example, his statement about taverns being casinos if they cannot make money without video poker was great and true. The problem is, I have seen over the last 15 years I have worked in Oregon politicks; Steve can be not a nice person. When I say that I don't mean he is not nice to some people, I mean he is not nice to important people. I have seen him berate Senator Kate Brown in front of the City Club of Portland. I have seen Steve ridicule Diane Linn at a canidates debate for using bad grimmer in her voter pamphlet statement. The list goes on and every time, in the end, it was Steve not looking good. I would vote for Steve if he won the nomination but he would have to ask me for my vote first, but he is not that type of person.

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    But oh man, wouldn't it be fun to see him going toe to toe with the right-wingers in Congress?

    I mean, Rick Santorum, George Allen, and Conrad Burns are already gone -- but Ted Stevens, Sam Brownback, Tom Coburn, and Trent Lott are still there... Damn that would be fun.

  • LT (unverified)

    First of all, some of what PS Jackson said about Steve N. was even truer about TB---at least Steve has been around for many years and people active in politics know where he stands. There was a 1996 Dem. peer pressure attitude (having nothing to do with TB being from Portland, I can tell you from a downstate perspective) of "OK, he's won the nomination, you should just shut up and tell all your friends to support him because we said so". Never ASKED for votes, just expected them. If Steve smart enough to do the hard work Ron Wyden did, being blunt about where he stands on issues as he visits all 36 counties (I think Steve Bucknum has said elsewhere it doesn't matter if Ron comes to a rural county in a business suit because he comes and treats local citizens with respect)he could be a surprisingly successful candidate. Whatever the particulars, Ted K. had an inspired idea when he first ran for Gov. of going to bowling alleys--political gatherings alone will never have enough people to gain the full sense of what matters in a community.

    If Steve N. researches the victories of those like new Sen. Tester, I think he will find a down to earth guy saying "this is who I am and I'm glad to answer your questions" rather than "you're supposed to like me because I say so".

    Most people outside the big city can spot genuine and smell phony a mile away. One swing voter I know who leans Republican first pointed this out to me over a decade ago. He went to Rotary in the fall of 1994 to hear Denny Smith and John Kitzhaber. His reaction was "Smith was just another slick politician. Kitzhaber had so much substance in his speech that I took notes". Nothing in there about which party he supported, he made a decision on the actual candidates.

    If Steve N. is serious about this (even while he is waiting for more famous people to decide if they will run), he'll seek out all the rural county chairs (from Polk and Curry to Crook and Baker etc.) and listen as much as he talks. He'll talk to Chuck B. Carol V. and other recent 2nd Dist. candidates face to face. He'll seek out legislators from rural Oregon and talk with them about their concerns. He'll find Mike Dugan if he is still around and talk with him about what he learned from running for Congress.

    Now, about Bruggere: If one believes that once the nominee is chosen we should all just get behind that person and not ask any issue questions (which Bruggere hadn't answered in the primary--there would be long articles about all the other candidates on an issue like health care and at the end "Bruggere did not have any detailed remarks on this issue") then Bruggere was a great candidate.

    However, had one been active on the Wyden campaign just months previously and enjoyed the discussions of issues Ron had with groups across the state--not to mention the grass roots component of the Wyden campaign which was not there in that regular Senate election---then there was nothing attractive about a candidate who didn't speak very well in public, didn't have the people skills of either Ron or Gordon, and acted like he had little or no political skills but didn't need them because he'd founded a company and he was the nominee. There was a sense of a consultant-driven campaign, almost as if the attitude was "All Wyden did in January is win--we're going to show the world how a truly professional campaign is run". Except they made some rookie mistakes long time volunteers know not to make: putting a lawn sign in a yard without permission, for instance.

    Sorry, but for those of us who had spent years lobbying certain veterans bills at the state and national level, Mr. Tom "I fought a war" Bruggere had no clue about any of the bills and acted as if they didn't matter. He had money and powerful friends, what else did he need?

    The attraction of Howard Dean even for those of us who didn't sign on with his presidential campaign was YOU HAVE THE POWER--that ordinary citizens are smart enough to know what should happen on a campaign and don't need consultants to tell them what matters in their own community.

    Here is the sort of thing Steve B. was talking about. There were people who thought Mike Dugan in 1996 was a great 2nd Cong. District candidate. He didn't win any more than Carol or any other 2nd Dist. candidate in memory. But he did earn more votes in rural Oregon than Bruggere did--getting more votes in these counties than Bruggere: Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Jefferson, Klamath, Morrow, Union, Wallowa, Wheeler.

    Yes, the people who voted for Gordon that year might be fed up now, but they would need to be asked for their vote for a Dem. nominee as a person, not as a member of a party.

    Say what you will about Gordon's voting record, he was "quicker on his feet" in that fall 1996 election. (Oh, Bruggere won't let newspeople photograph the front of his house? We'll invite a camera crew into our house for a tour which my wife and I will lead so everyone can know we are proud of our house in Pendleton--that might not sound like a big deal to famous consultants, but with average voters it made an impression.) This wasn't a Democrat with a rags to riches story, remember, this was 2 wealthy guys running against each other. What did either have in common with the waitress, the store clerk, the person working multiple jobs, or on-call, or temp?

    As someone with decades of volunteer experience, I admire campaign planning excellence when I see it and Gordon had that in 1996 on election night--started out the night in Pendleton and wasn't going to fly to Portland unless he was winning. And face it, that was an electrifying election night victory speech.

    I don't think the average voter of any persuasion thinks in terms of "do we want to shift both seats all the way over" as much as they think in terms of the candidates. I knew a Republican couple who had been active on GOP campaigns who voted for Lonsdale in 1990 and wrote him in on their 1992 ballot because "Packwood and Hatfield had just been there too long". Few people I know in everyday life talk about the party of an office holder, they talk about the ones they have strong feelings about often by first name as in Ron and Gordon.

    In the end, it depends on what you mean by a margin of a few nose hairs. That's how Jean Cowan lost for St. Rep. in 2004 and then went on to win in 2006 (like Betty Komp in 2002-2004). At most that would be a margin of 3 digits.

    I looked it up and the final Smith/Bruggere margin was 52966. I don't consider 5 digits a squeaker. What is fascinating is that Gordon was elected by 3rd party voters. 57122 Oregonians in 1996 voted for one of the many and varied 3rd party candidates--the strongest of them got between 12,000 and a bit above 20,000 votes. If Democrats nominate an appealing candidate for US Senate, there might not be any 3rd party candidates in 2008.

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    LT, there's a lot of good advice in there. Thank you.

    Oh, and FYI: Mike Dugan is still around and kicking. Still the DA of Deschutes County.

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    Wow LT, I feel like I owe you dinner or something. You far exceeded any hopes I had for an answer. That's the kind of history lesson you can't get from reading the paper.

    Just to clarify one point…the thing I remembered from 96 is that it was the last Senate race in the country to be called. I'm surprised to hear it was 5 points, but I guess that's just a reflection of vote-counting vagaries. Guess we're better at counting absentee ballots now that everybody uses one :)

    And another point that came up as I was digging into this…the Oregonian was pretty sure Lon Mabon's candidacy helped Smith pull off a move "to the center" that would have otherwise been difficult. Interesting.

    Good points re: bowling alleys, TV crew in the house, and lawn sign assumptions.

    Anyway…gotta run, but I'm sure I'll be back to reread this later. Thanks again!

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    In response to PSJackson, I'd just like to note that Diane Linn thought my question in that debate was funny, I liked her answer and partly voted for her in that race on the basis of it, and she subsequently hired me to work for her. I do take advantage of City Club to hold politicians' feet to the fire on policy issues, which I think often needs to be done; I try not to be mean about it. And, PS, if I do run, one of the first things I will do is ask you for your vote, if I know how to find you.

  • LT (unverified)

    Thanks Pete. Little known fact I heard in the Spring of '96 from someone who was involved in both Smith 1996 campaigns. It was fairly widely reported he was SURE he would win in January, and the loss was a humbling experience.

    What followed were lots of people listening to reports he was thinking of running if Hatfield retired and writing letters to him saying "Gordon, if you run again PLEASE learn from your mistakes and don't treat us just as things to be acted upon in the way your "we're all real tired of career politicians" ads assumed you knew what we were thinking without asking us. "

    What I heard from the person involved in the Smith campaigns was that Gordon read EVERY letter. That, folks, is a strength of character story which many politicians across the board would have a hard time matching. I've long thought there are 2 Gordons--statesman and slippery. The statesman said those gracious things about Frank Morse on his last day as a St. Senator. Slippery stories are too numerous to mention.

  • LT (unverified)

    Woops! Of course I meant the dying Frank ROBERTS, not the current Sen. Morse!

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    Great post, LT.

    I put up a mini-diary about this race on DailyKos. Not a lot of nibbles yet.

  • PSJackson (unverified)

    Steve,I did not write that you were mean, I wrote that you were not nice; small difference but as a lawyer I know you understand. When you declare, I will make it a point to introduce myself. I look forward to you asking me for my vote. BTW, Diane earned my vote that night by the way she handled you, too.

  • Michael Simon (unverified)

    Steve would be a superb United States Senator. He is insightful, brilliant, articulate, and truly cares about people. He has my full support.

  • Chellie (unverified)

    Union County Dems would love to have a candidate visit I am sure. Can't wait to see you Steve.

    But... now that we know why Smith has to go, what do you have to offer?

  • (Show?)

    I hope we can use the commericals from the 2003 Oregon Summit. Long live the "Red Hook"

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Other names-

    Ted Kulongski- in both '02 and '06 so many Dems said he can't win, doesn't campaign, doesn't raise money, blbh, blah, blah, but he pulled it off both times. After the leg. session ends he would have time to campaign. Age is probably a factor against him to start off a 6 year term in two years.

    Barbara Roberts- No kid, either, but a good campaigner with name ID.

    Peter Courtney- Good campaigner, from a red county, ran a strong race for congress in the '84 primary

    Betsy Johnson- self funder, appeal to rural areas, good politican and forceful speaker

  • shannon floyd (unverified)

    I think Steve would offer an intelligent and determined voice for working people and the environment and civil liberties, yes?

    Nicely done, Steve. If you do run, I'll donate!

  • John (unverified)


    Why ignore Smith's role in the Enron/PGE fiasco? Bradbury ignored this potentially devasting issue in '02 to his detriment: Smith was the Senate's third largest recipient of Enron largesse. PGE customers pay the price every day. Smith should have been tarred and feathered with this long ago. Why don't his opponents have the spine to do it?

  • Steve Rosenbaum (unverified)

    It would be great to have Steve Novick run for US Senate! He is unusually smart and dedicated to Oregonians. He is memorable and charismatic. If he become Senators, he will likely achieve national prominence.

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    I think a Novick campaign would be full of life and excitement. He'd have to clean out his car to fit volunteers in though. This quote just says it all.

    "Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness on sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size."-John of Salisbury

    Steve, let Oregon stand on your shoulders (unless you think we'd be to heavy), It's better than being stuck in Gordon Smith's pocket.

    I felt so strongly about Steve running, that I started a facebook group for my friends across the state urging him to run.

  • Steiny (unverified)

    I'm not that familiar with Mr. Novick, but it sounds like Oregon now has the opportunity to have our very own Jon Tester or Jim Webb!

  • timothy james (unverified)

    Please advise how to get a message to Mr Novick I would like very much to speak with him regarding upcoming U S Senate races, Gordon Smith and the green panthers. I would also like to send hard copy via regular mail to Mr Novick for his review and consideration thankyou timothyjames H 503-288 8150 O 503 416 6382 P.O. Box 2083 Portland Or 97208-2083

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